From 'Mementoes of the Martyrs' : "...which provoked a Frenchman who was there to comment on the strange ways of the English, "those who are for the pope are hanged, those who are against him are burned:"                                               Saint John-Paul II wrote: "The fact that one can die for the faith shows that other demands of the faith can also be met."                                                 Cardinal Müller says, “For the real danger to today’s humanity is the greenhouse gases of sin and the global warming of unbelief and the decay of morality when no one knows and teaches the difference between good and evil.”                                                  St Catherine of Siena said, “We've had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues - I see the world is rotten because of silence.”                                                  Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”                                                Brethren, Wake up!


We are grateful to one of our confreres for the photographs below, which shows the relics of Saint John the Baptist at the former Conventual Church of Saint John of Jerusalem in Valetta, now the Co-Cathedral, displayed for the veneration of the Faithful on the Feast last Tuesday.  The reliquary is in the form of a very realistic severed head upon a dish, but does not, of course, contains a head (See our earlier post on the Feast, illustrating the three supposed relic heads).
Those members of the Grand Priory and British Association who occasionally opine that the liturgical practices of the Order in Britain are elaborate might do well to reflect upon this splendid image, which shows the glorious character of the Order's liturgy though most of its history.  We should be grateful that, despite the ravages of Napoleon, the disappearance of the Knights, and the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the liturgy of Saint John's Valetta retains much of the ceremonial and custom of our noble tradition.

Any Maltese member reading this who knows the origin and date of the reliquary would be very welcome to post a comment in the box.


The Monthly Mass today will be celebrated in honour of one of the great 20th Century saints of our Order. Mass is at 7pm in the Lady Chapel at St James Spanish Place.

He was born in Rome of Bavarian parents on 18 January 1880 and was baptized Alfredo Ludovico Luigi. He entered the Benedictine monastery of St Paul-Outside-the-Walls when he was 11, and in 1896 began his novitiate, taking the name of Ildefonso. He made his solemn profession in 1902. After studying philosophy at Sant' Anselmo (Rome) and theology at St Paul's Abbey, he was ordained a priest in 1904. He was appointed Archbishop of Milan by Pope Pius XI on 26 June 1929 and created a Cardinal on 15 July. In 1933 he was invested Bailiff in our Order. A few days before he died, he withdrew to Venegono seminary. His last, moving words were to the seminarians: “You want something to remember me by. All I can leave you is an invitation to holiness...”.

The Collect of the Mass
Almighty God, through your grace, Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso, by his exemplary virtue built up the flock entrusted to him. Grant that we, under the guidance of the Gospel, may follow his teaching and walk in sureness of life, until we come to see you face to face in your eternal kingdom. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The following text is an article written by Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster OSB, Blessed of the Order of Malta, who was Archbishop of Milan in the 1920's, a most learned scholar of liturgy.
The Sacred Liturgy in its widest meaning, has as its object, the religious and supernatural culture of Christianity in its various sacramentary, euchological, ritualistic, literary and artistic manifestations, embracing thus, as in a vast synthesis, all that which is most sublime which has been created in the world, in order to grasp and express the indescribable and the Divine. Nor is that all.

As children of the Catholic Church and heirs of the dogmatic revelation made to the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets of Israel, our religious culture not only pre-exists, in its fundamental elements, the very coming of the Son of God to the world, but it is present many centuries prior to the most ancient cultures which record history, establishing itself, for that reason, to be respected and venerated by the learned. Moreover, it is not possible to speak of a purely natural and human origin, both because the dogmatic element of Christianity originates from direct and positive Divine Revelation and also because the life and activity itself of the Church are derived from the Spirit of Jesus Who lives in Her.

Therefore we are speaking of a sacred poem, to which Heaven and earth have truly placed their hand, and in which humanity, redeemed in the Blood of the Spotless Lamb, on the wings of the spirit, soars on high, thrusting itself up to the throne of God. This is something more than a simple elevation; since the Sacred Liturgy does not only express that which is ineffable and Divine, but through the Sacraments and its euchological formulae, produces it, so to say, and fulfills it in the souls of the Faithful to whom it communicates the grace of Redemption. One may also say that the very source of the holiness of the Church is wholly comprised in Her Liturgy, so that without the Divine Sacraments, the Passion of the Saviour, in the present economy instituted by God, would not have any efficacy for us, due to the lack of instruments able to transmit its treasures to us.
The sphere of the Liturgy is unsurpassed by that of any other science, since it embraces the first origins of humanity, its essential relations with the Creator, the Redemption, the Sacraments, Grace, Christian eschatology, in other words, all that there is which is most sublime, most aesthetically perfect, most necessary and important to the world.

As for science, the Sacred Liturgy has its canons, its laws, its subdivisions, the same as all other sciences and particularly of positive theology, which is similar both in its method and its aim. One of its purposes, in fact, is the systematic study of Christian worship, distinguishing and classifying the various liturgical formulae according to the basic structure characteristic of each family, ordering them by date of compilation and instituting examinations and comparisons between the various forms, with a view to tracing elements of common origin in them.

It is only thus that apparently irreducible liturgies, such as the Roman, the Gallican and Hispanic liturgies can be traced to a common source. If such were not the case, it would be difficult to see how the unity of the Symbol of Faith (The Creed) failed to lead(as an immediate consequence of its unity) to primitive unity in its liturgical expression. Instead, recent studies and detailed and patient investigation have uncovered in all the liturgies, even the most dissimilar, a common substratum.

At times an identical concept is expressed using quite different ritual formulae and language. Nevertheless, it can now no longer be doubted that eastern and western liturgies all derive from an identical, very ancient form, which provides a foundation for Catholic unity in ecclesiastical worship.


Domine mi rex, da mihi in disco caput Ioannis Baptistæ.
O my lord king, I want you to give me on a dish the head of John the Baptist. (Antiphon of the second psalm of the Office)

Today is the second feast of our blessed Patron, in which we commemorate his beheading at the hands of Herodias and Salome.

Saint John died defending Marriage, denouncing the adulterous union between Herod and Herodias, wife of his brother Philip.

In our day there can be no stronger intercessor than Saint John for the defence of the Sacrament of Marriage so threatened in our civic society, as well as within the Church by those prelates whose eyes are turned to the secular world.

During this week you are all very earnestly encouraged to pray to Saint John the Baptist to defend Christian marriage, and to take this Truth out into the world where amongst even our closest friends we find error. We must not shy away from engaging in this debate.

Pray also that Holy Mother Church may be moved to declare Saint John the Baptist as patron saint of Marriage.

The collect of the Mass is particular to our Order which bears his holy name, and which is a clarion call to Tuitio Fidei.
Deus, qui beatum Ioannem Baptistam et nascentis et morietis Filii tui Præcusorem voluisti, concede, ut, sic ille veritatis et iustitiæ martyr occubuit, ita et nos in Ordine illi dicato militantes tuæ confessione doctrinæ strenue certemus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum. Amen. 
O God, who called John the Baptist to be the herald of your Son’s birth and death, grant that, as he gave his life in witness to truth and justice, even so we in the Order which bears his name may strive unerring to defend your doctrine. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Shrine in San Silvestro in capita, Rome
The reliquary in Amiens
The relic in Constantinople
The photographs show the three heads venerated in Rome, Amiens and Constantinople as those of the Precursor.  As many will know, our beloved Order had in its care the Saint’s right hand, which was preserved in Russia following the fall of Malta, only to be lost during the Second World War.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.


Farnborough Abbey - tomb of Eugénie, Empress of France,
foundress of the Abbey
Our August Day of Recollection will take place on Saturday 26th August at St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough, GU14 7NQ. Farnborough is easily accessible by car (junction 4 of the M3) or train to the main station in Farnborough then a short walk. For those who do not know it, the Abbey is well worth a visit – founded by the Empress Eugénie as a monastery and Imperial Mausoleum to house the mortal remains of her husband Napoleon III and their son the Prince Imperial (killed under British colours in the Zulu War of 1879), and designed by the renowned French architect Gabriel-Hyppolyte Destailleur (who also designed Waddesdon Manor). 

The conferences will be given by Father Dominic Allain.

This day falls within the study weekend at the Abbey for professed knights, and it is fitting that as many members of the Order, particularly those in Obedience, make the effort to attend to support them.

10.30am        Lauds 
11.00am        First Spiritual Conference, followed by opportunity for Confession/recitation of the Rosary
12.00 noon    Mass
1.15pm          Lunch
2.00pm          Second Spiritual Conference
3.15pm         Vespers, Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

As ever, everyone is welcome: ALL members of BASMOM, other members of the Order in Britain, Companions and guests. Lunch will be in the monastery refectory, by kind permission of the Abbot. A donation of £20 per head will be taken on the day, to cover the costs of the clergy and of lunch. 

Please would you let Fra’ Richard Berkley-Matthews ( know if you intend to come for lunch, by Friday morning at the very latest.

Our next Conventual Mass will be on Wednesday, 30th August at 7.00pm in the beautiful Lady Chapel at St James's, Spanish Place, courtesy of the Rector. 

Remember to pray for the work of the Order every day, and for the ongoing constitutional review.


This wonderful feast of Our Blessed Lady, which punctuates the informal days of the summer with a great burst of glory, falls tomorrow. It is a holy day of Obligation, upon which all Catholics will wish to go to Mass. There will be a solemn sung Mass at Our Lady of The Assumption, Warwick Street, W1B 5LZ, celebrated by Father Mark Eliott-Smith, at 7pm.

All members of the Order and Companions, especially those involved in our collaboration with the Ordinariate in the Wednesday Breakfast Club, are warmly invited to attend, and it is hoped that as many of you as possible will choose to celebrate out hosts' patronal feast with them.

Our Lady of the Assumption, pray for us!


Today is the day upon which every year we may gain the Portiuncula Indulgence, from the afternoon on the 1st August to sunset on the 2nd.  This plenary indulgence may be applied to the Souls in Purgatory, by the act of visiting a church following Confession and receiving Holy Communion. It is thus one of the greatest Acts of Charity we can perform, to release a soul from Purgatory. Why would one not do this?

The Indulgence was granted miraculously to Saint Francis on a night of great temptation, in which he is said to have rolled as mortification in a briar-bush which became a bush of sweet thornless roses.  Originally it required a visit to the cell where he died, now in the basilica at Portiuncula (see photo above) about a mile from Assisi, but by successive Popes, in their great mercy, has been granted more and more liberally until today any church may be visited to gain this indulgence. (This privilege has been finally established for an indefinite time by a decree of the S. Cong. of Indul., 26 March, 1911 (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, III, 1911, 233-4), and reformed and confirmed by Pope Paul VI in "Indulgentiarum Doctrina" (1967). This Apostolic Constitution established that a Plenary Indulgence may be gained only once a day.)

The obligations are the usual ones of Confession and Holy Communion, ideally on the day, and recitation of the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, and prayer for the Holy Father's intentions, carried out with the will to gain the indulgence, and a detachment from sin. That is all. The indulgence may be gained on each of the two days, thus twice, assisting two souls.

Please make the effort to do this wonderful charitable work today!

For more information see HERE.